Judge and Bird crack Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list

Ranking The 40-Man Roster: No. 2
Passan: Yoan Moncada could be cleared to sign within two weeks
Judge and Bird in the Arizona Fall League. (Presswire)
Judge and Bird in the Arizona Fall League. (Presswire)

Over at ESPN, Keith Law released his list of the top 100 prospects in baseball today (subs. req’d). Cubs 3B Kris Bryant claimed the top spot, with Twins OF Byron Buxton and Astros SS Carlos Correa rounding out the top three. The Yankees had two players in the top 100: OF Aaron Judge (No. 23) and 1B Greg Bird (No. 80). Law’s list might be the only top 100 that includes Bird this spring.

“Judge has a short swing, surprisingly so given the length of his arms, and very strong command of the strike zone … he should be able to hit 30 without needing to get bigger or stronger,” wrote Law while more or less saying Judge’s biggest flaw is that he hasn’t yet learned when to really cut it loose and tap into his huge raw power. “He’s an above-average defender in right, faster than you’d expect, with the arm to profile there and the potential to post strong triple-slash numbers if he can make that one big adjustment.”

As for Bird, Law says he is a “high-IQ hitter with outstanding plate discipline and understanding of how to work a pitcher, giving reason to think he’ll continue to post high OBPs even though he’ll probably hit only .250-260 with a lot of strikeouts.” He also notes Bird makes “hard contact to all fields, rarely putting the ball on the ground because he squares it up so frequently.” As always, the concern with Bird is his defense at first and his lingering back issues, which forced him out from behind the plate a few years ago. Some of his defensive trouble is due to a lack of experience, some is due to a lack of athleticism.

Judge ranks third among all outfielders (behind Buxton and Cubs OF Jorge Soler) and Bird ranks third among all first baseman (behind Mariners 1B D.J. Peterson and Mets 1B Dominic Smith). The most notable omission from Law’s list is RHP Luis Severino, who will undoubtedly show up on (all) other top 100 lists this spring. Law has said repeatedly that he loves Severino’s arm but believes he is destined for the bullpen long-term because of his delivery and the fact that he doesn’t use his lower half all that much. Law seems to be the low man on Severino and the high man on both Judge and Bird.

In addition to the top 100, Law also posted his annual farm system rankings earlier this week (subs. req’d). The Cubs claimed the top spot and the Tigers the No. 30 spot. The Yankees ranked 20th, exactly the same as last year. “The Yankees’ system still has more talent than production, as several key prospects continued to have trouble staying on the field, but a very strong 2013 draft class and a blowout year on the international front have the system trending up again,” said the write-up. With two first round picks this June and that massive international haul set to debut this summer, it’s all but guaranteed the Yankees will climb the system rankings this year.

Ranking The 40-Man Roster: No. 2
Passan: Yoan Moncada could be cleared to sign within two weeks
  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Cue KLaw is the Antichrist chants over Severino, with a dash of “I told you so” over Sanchez.

    • Dan A.

      It’s too early to label Sanchez a bust. He’d still be young for AA. Personally, I hope he repeats AA again and owns it before moving up.

      • Scott

        I’m an optimist so take this with a grain of salt. But I think Sanchez will rebound too and have a good year. He is young as you say, and needs to mature. Once he focuses on baseball, he’ll be fine.

  • Now Batting

    Was Tanaka considered when all the team farm rankings came out last year? If so, no surprise that the team wouldn’t really move up in the rankings despite a solid farm year last year.

    • Gary’s Fun House

      No Tanaka was not included last year since he was considered a professional. If he was they’d have been a top 10 team for sure.

      • Now Batting

        I remember him being #1 or 2 on the individual top prospect lists.

      • MB923

        Yes Tanaka Was in fact in the top 100 for Law’s ranking last year. I even recall him writing that they would even be below 20 without him.

        Edit – That was another site actually I got that on, Not from Law. Sorry. But I know for certain one site had him as their #1 prospect. Same thing with Dice-K when Sox got him.

    • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

      I don’t think he was seen as a prospect. He was signed to pitch in the MLB right away. Puig, Abreu and the like weren’t considered prospects. (At least they shouldn’t be/have)

      • Now Batting

        “Should” doesn’t matter when we’re looking at historical events. Just googled it and BA had him as the #4 prospect on its list. Assuming that rolls into the team ranking, the farm should hold steady or take a small dip this year.

  • bernbabybern

    I don’t care where he ranks Severino, but I think it’s a little early to be putting the future reliever label on him.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      Agreed, but again he’s entitled to his opinion. And Severino is entitled to prove him wrong. :)

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Exactly.

    • RetroRob

      He’s voiced that concern about Severino all year, however he’s gone from simply noting it as a concern and “believing” he’d be a reliever, to now being declarative that he IS a reliever. That does seem a bit strong.

  • Alfredo Negrin

    These list are good so fans can get a perspective on how their organization is doing based on developing players, but they really don’t mean much. Some players will be underrated and some will be loved by experts and that’s their opinion, that’s what these list consists of. Therefore, I could careless how the Yankees prospects rank or where the organization ranks within the league in farm systems, as long as I see progress and I see improvements by our prospects then I’m happy. This system is highly underrated and the experts will see how wrong they are in the coming years.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      He’s one voice among many. What matters, to me, is what you see when you put all the rankings and reports together.

      • http://batman-news.com/ Thunderfingers

        While these lists are nice reads, what matter to me is what these players bring to the MLB team, whether as a member of the Yankees or what their return is from another team.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          What matters to me is how these guys will properly address Jeff Pentland in Spring Training.

          • Camilo Esturniche

            Speaking when spoken to being the best policy?

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              We now know the true reason for the Assistant Hitting Coach.

              • Camilo Esturniche

                I was definitely kidding. I’m definitely a glass 1/2 full guy

          • TheEvilUmpire

            “What is thy bidding, my master?”

          • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

            Agreed. Shame if they got cut the first day because they were listening to their iPods instead of Pentland’s required phonograph.

  • blake

    Law has a chat starting right now that I’m sure he will answer questions on Severino but the main thing I’ve heard him say about him was that he doesn’t use his lower half much……

  • bernbabybern

    23 is pretty high, I didn’t expect that for Judge.

  • blake

    as I said before Law right or wrong doesn’t really get caught up in what other publications say on players….he makes his own evaluations for the most part. Doesn’t mean he’s right however…..Law thinks his lower half might lead to injuries and fatigue as a starter…..by the same token Fangraphs mentions the early load of his arm as something that could prevent injuries. Especially with pitching prospects…..we just won’t know until we know.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      What’s far more interesting to me is who gets the greater consensus amongst the experts versus who has different takes on him.

      We read reports that don’t meet our narrative and get all uptight about them. KLaw is, at least, as entitled to his own POV as Terry is.

      • blake

        Law sees players a handful of times…..what really matters is the Yankees and other actual teams evaluation of him……

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I understand that perfectly. A snapshot can be part of a more valid measure when it’s grouped in with other reports, as well as snapshots.

          Think of it as increasing your “n.”

  • blake

    the most important question is where will Moncada rank

  • blake

    discussion

    Cashman (New York)

    Why are you low on Luis Severino? He has good fastball and changeup, also just 20 years old.

    Klaw

    (1:08 PM)

    That would put him in a group of about 200 right-handed pitchers across the minors.

    Klaw

    (1:08 PM)

    Severino is a future reliever. You can’t stay a starter without using your lower half at all. He has a great arm, loose and easy, but I can’t name an MLB starter who uses his lower half as little as Severino does – nor do I think you can truly command your fastball if you’re all arm and no legs.

    • Bigdan

      Funny though, fastball command has been Severino strongest suit since he arrived. It’s absolutely impeccable. It’s slider command that’s his only problem right now.

      • Tom_hamsandwich

        I understand his sentiment about right-handed mid 90’s starter/relievers, so in that case I understand why he is not on the list. But when I first watched him throw I though Right-handed David Price. Which is just a superficial comp.

  • just_add_bacon7

    I once left a derisive comment on one of his articles basically calling KLaw a typical Red Sox shill, toeing ESPN’s company line. He responded and said that he grew up a Yankees fan and that I was full of it, so that put that idea to rest.

    Still, I find it hard to believe there are 100 better prospects than Luis Severino in the baseball world today.

  • mattpat11

    In past years this has led to doom. Hopefully the changes they’ve made to player development means this won’t be another situation where we look back and go “remember when Judge was a highly touted prospect? Oh well.”

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Changes in player development will not prevent prospects from breaking your heart.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNIPqafd4As

      • mattpat11

        I have to believe it will. Otherwise its just waiting for the Yankees to somehow figure out a way to turn Judge into a reliever, as is their specialty.

  • Nick

    Gary Sanchez didnt make the list?

  • blake

    I like Fangraphs better because it ranks Severino higher and because Law can be a snarky little snot at times.

    • Scott

      Especially when it comes to the Yanks.
      Now to be fair Kiley McDaniel was once an employee of the Yanks. So he is probably biased towards them. But, IMO KLaw seems to relish in downplaying the Yanks.
      Somewhere between Law and McDaniel is the truth. I don’t think the Yanks farms system is 20th, but 10th might be too high this year, 15th about right.

      • Bo Knows

        Kiley also worked for the Pirates and Orioles so I don’t think he’s too biased. That said I think he does his rank more on pure talent which the Yankees have. Law, I think does his on proximity to the majors and he also seems to go by his own notes whereas McDaniels looks at the consensus and what he’s been told.

      • RetroRob

        Law is snarky about all 30 teams. View all his comments through that eye and you’ll see it’s true. Law also grew up a Yankees fan. You and others may not like his 20th ranking this year for the team, but he also had the Yankees farm system in the top ten three years running, from 2011-2013. He’s also been very high on a number of Yankee prospects. There’s no bias.

  • Bigdan

    I think the takeaway here is you keep Severino and trade Judge. Keep Bird too because as a 1b he’s just not worth much in the trade market. Always wanted to trade Sanchez but his value has fallen too much to trade now. But it looks like Judge is primed for the Yankees trade hype machine.

    I generally feel you should always trade your No. 1 prospect because he’s the minor leaguer most likely to be over-rated. I think most folks think Severino is the Yanks No. 1 but I wouldn’t trade him. He’s an exception. But this report by Law may be just enough to place some doubts in the mind of potential trading partners and that’s all good as far as I’m concerned. He’s the keeper.

    Trade, keep, whatever, the key for position players is always AA and Trenton for the Yankees. So this is a big year for Judge and Bird. I wonder who was a better prospect, Judge now or Tyler Austin two years ago. Austin was younger.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      You don’t need to wonder. Aaron Judge is a far better prospect now than Austin was then.

      I honestly can’t believe someone of your self-proclaimed intellect has to even ask that.

      • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

        I’m not sure even BigDan thinks he has intellect….that would require knowledge of what intellect means

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Law ranked Austin at #45, at his highest, which is certainly higher than I remember, and as high as #5 in Yankee prospects.

          However, even at his highest, Austin’s always been a moderate-ceiling/high-floor guy (which has, obviously, shifted a bit), which I certainly do not think is how Judge would be described on either end.

      • RetroRob
    • blake

      It never makes any sense when you say this stuff

      • Bigdan

        That Tyler Austin two years ago was easily the minor league hitter Judge is now? Was also a top 100 prospect and two years younger!

        Or that it’s a good policy to trade your over-hyped No. 1 prospects liked the Yanks did with Montero a few years ago?

        • blake

          It’s never wise to say always about anything

          • Bigdan

            Of course, that’s why I make an exception with Severino. Years ago I wanted to trade Hughes when he was the Yanks No. 1. He had over-hype written all over him.

            • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

              HOLY SHIT!!! Hey RAB look, BigDan predicted Hughes decline years ago….I bet nobody saw this proclamation coming

              • Bigdan

                That’s where I first introduced my “trade the prospect most likely to be over-rated” theory. At the time, the choices were Hughes, Joba and Kennedy for Santana. I was against trading for Santana but I articulated at length on how Hughes was the player of the three most likely to be over-rated and the one who should be traded. Over time, that theory came to include virtually all Yankee No. 1 prospects. Hence Montero and Sanchez. I make an exception with Severino, as indicated above.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  But he’s not trolling. Remember that.

                • craig

                  ndoiwndoxdouchebaglkfcopj

            • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

              You predicted a Hughes bust? Can we meet up next week for an autograph?

              “MOM!!! BIGDAN PREDICTED SOMETHING RIGHT AGAIN COME LOOK! HOW DOES HE DO IT EVERY TIME?”

              • tbone1570

                I thought BigDan was the one with the mother upstairs!

                • craig

                  That’s BIGDAN! Different guy.

          • Jim Is Bored

            Or never :)

        • bernbabybern

          Montero couldn’t field his position, Judge can.

          • Bigdan

            Montero didn’t even have a position. Judge is an excellent prospect. Let’s see if he hits in AA.

            • Mandy Stankiewicz

              Montero was a catcher, the position that wears all that silly gear.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          He wasn’t.

        • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

          Two unrelated events. They traded Montero for a pitcher who had good potential to be an Ace or a #2. Much more valuable than a 1B.

    • IVoted4Kodos

      How the hell is”trade Judge” the takeaway from that? The team needs a full time right fielder and he has legit high end potential.

      AIBSFM, I think you just like to read the sound of your own voice.

      • Jim Is Bored

        Of course he likes to read the sound of his voice. It’s bigdan.

        • Farewell Mo and Jeet

          Welcome back grouchy. Haven’t seen you comment around these parts lately. Glad you’re back :)

          • Jim Is Bored

            Life is taking up too much of my time, and nothing has happened in Yankeeland.

            Don’t worry, I’ll be wearing my Whitley jersey all year!

    • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

      So MLB teams will suddenly want Judge more because Keith Law ranked him 23rd? As my 1st grade teacher always said, THINK before you speak.

  • Bo Knows

    I don’t care how subjective a list is, Luis Severino is one of the Yankees 2 best prospects, if Judge is on that list he should be as well. There is no chance there are 100 prospects better than him.

    • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

      There were once 100 prospects ranked better than Cano….it doesn’t really mean that much

      • Scott

        Well there is that. These rankings are all a guys opinion. Baseball history is littered with prospect busts and guys never ranked that had All Star careers.

      • Bo Knows

        I’m aware of that, but this irks me. I like Bird a lot, I think he can be a productive MLB player but his inclusion and Severino’s exclusion bothers me incredibly. K-Law has always seemed to have a relatively odd list when compared to others.

        That said, I have never been a fan of assigning starting pitching prospects to the bullpen until they prove they can’t start either through health or command/control. Severino’s leg action is different, I do agree that it looks like he doesn’t incorporate his legs much, but there is only so much that can be told visually in regards to this because we aren’t in his body. Severino lifts and drops his plant leg very quickly, so for all we know he uses the energy from that and his core to propel his lower half. I would also cite Kiley’s scouting report about Severino’s clean arm action, with it already in position to deliver the ball well before any part of his plant foot touches the mound.

        If Severino showed a lot of problems with walks or commands, sure the reliever issue would be more definite but he’s shown none of that. If he had issues staying healthy, I would also see the reliever profile more but outside of one precautionary muscle tightness in his side there really hasn’t been any health issues associated with Severino.

  • blake

    Kevin (Portland)

    Was Gary Sanchez unranked due to defensive or plate discipline concerns? And as a 22-year old in double-A does he have time to fix either?

    Klaw

    (1:18 PM)

    Yes, and yes, and … yes.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Yeah, but no asked if it was because he’s a young Latin catcher once seen with a donut.

      • craig

        That’s what the 2nd yes really means. You have to read between the lines/yes’s to decode Klawspeak.

  • bernbabybern

    Here’s a good video for getting a look at Severino’s pitching motion, including some slow motion.

    http://youtu.be/TT5ev0paJZI

    He is somewhat upright, but I don’t think he is getting nothing from his lower half, although he is definitely not the drop and drive type.

  • Moncada’s Codpiece

    I think the question is, since the Red Sox clearly have the other 98 spots, why the Yankees don’t have those other 98 spots. Where’s the goddamn upside!?

    • TheEvilUmpire

      Moncada has the other 98 spots!

  • AllPraiseBeToMo

    Surprised he was so high on Bird, but loved his comments on him. Best case scenario Nick Johnson?

    • bernbabybern

      Johnson was higher average, less power.

      • TheEvilUmpire

        Don’t you mean the other way around?

        • bernbabybern

          No, Johnson had a better hit tool and Bird definitely has more power.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            Wait I read that wrong. That’s what I was thinking too. I changed “was” to “with” in my head. Stupid brain!

            • AllPraiseBeToMo

              I’d be thrilled with a 250/400/500 from a young cost controlled 1B.

              • TheEvilUmpire

                I’d be thrilled to get that from Teixiera!

              • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                I’d be thrilled with that from a guy making $30M a year.

                • AllPraiseBeToMo

                  What do you see as Birds triple slash if/when he comes up? Realistically 250/370/480?

                  • Dalek Jeter

                    I think that’s setting expectations WAY too high, only 17 guys in all of baseball had an OPS of .850 or better. If he came up and did that, he would have had a higher OPS than Jayson Werth, Justin Upton, Robinson Cano, Johnathan Lucroy, and Hanley Ramirez.

                    • AllPraiseBeToMo

                      I think the obp is very realistic considering he led MILB in walks 2 years ago, had a bunch this year even with missing time and as his power develops pitchers will be even more careful.
                      Maybe I’m overstating his power potential, but with that left handed stroke in YS3 I see 20-25 hrs.

                    • Dalek Jeter

                      The OBP alone, I’d consider that best case scenario, that would put him tied with Matt Holiday at 19th highest in baseball. Ahead of Hanley, Carlos Santana, Buster Posey, and Joe Mauer.

                  • blake

                    If he can ops .800 and make 23 million dollars less than Tex then I’ll be thrilled to death

              • bernbabybern

                That’s Giambi. I don’t know if that’ possible in the present hitting environment.

              • blake

                There aren’t 10 players in baseball that ops .900 right now

              • Sir Didi Odell Nakamura Jr

                If be thrilled if he was top 10 in ops too

              • Mayan Brickann

                Who wouldn’t? More likely a .250/.350/.450 guy, but even that would be quite good.

    • Bigdan

      From the comments above, I don’t think Law addressed one of Bird’s strongest assets–his power. It could be better than Judge’s. The back is most def a concern though.

      • AllPraiseBeToMo

        I remember the back injury was why he had to be moved off of catcher, but he hasn’t had any problems since then has he?

        • Bigdan

          I think he has actually. He started late last season (May?) I believe because of the back. In interviews he says he has the problem under control. But we all know, for professional athletes, backs are pretty hard to control.

    • Looser Trader FotD™

      Sans the bones of glass sil vous plait

  • Re2pect

    great to hear Judge is 3rd ranked in all of MILB, up there with some shiny prospect names. Im going to wait for all lists to come out before I pass judgement on Law. But, if we were 20th last year, and across baseball the consensus is our farm had remarkably improved, how do we not move the dial at all?

    • Bigdan

      Especially when you consider the lousy year the system had in 2013. 2014 looks much much better.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      3rd among OFs. 23rd overall.

      • Re2pect

        yes i didnt elaborate in my post. I understand he isnt up their w/ the bryants and buxtons. Itd be no though huh?

    • Moncada’s Codpiece

      It’s because the Red Sox are our betters.

      • Re2pect

        huh?

    • Dalek Jeter

      KLaw is much more about what a farm produces as opposed to its potential talent. The Yankees have a lot of potential talent, but outside of the bullpen haven’t translated that talent into guys who impact the ML team. Hopefully this can change in the next couple years with SKJRM, Refsnyder, Mitchell, Severino, Lindgren, and Judge.

      • RetroRob

        True. I’m a big Klaw fan, but ranking prospects is not an easy business, and let’s all be honest. Our opinions of Yankees prospects are based on what we read from Klaw, FanGraphs, BP, BA, MLB.com, etc. In this case, one of the public sources — Law — is lower on one of our top prospects. Those who are annoyed that he’s low on Severino are ignoring how high he is on Judge and Bird. If he left Bird of his top 100 but had Severino, would people be happier?

        Last, let’s not forget he never ranked Gardner, Cano or Wang in his top 100. He’s also middling on Refsnyder, who I believe might join the former three as better MLB players than he currently has him ranked. Not a knock on Law because it’s the same for all these lists. Ranking baseball players is challenging as much can change in a few months.

      • Re2pect

        so by Laws Logic we remain status quo until prospects contribute at the show. I dont like his logic. All prospects are potential until they crack the roster with the big team and show their worth. That is what we are all here dreaming about with these guys isn’t it? Potential?

  • Dalek Jeter

    This will probably be the only top 100 that includes Bird, and also the only one that doesn’t include Severino. I also think Sanchez has a shot at sneaking in to the back 20 (80-100) of MLB’s or Baseball Prospectus’ list.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      Sanchez has a better shot of sneaking into an all-you-can-eat buffet.

      • blake

        Send him an ice cream sandwich and lets see his reaction

        • TheEvilUmpire

          I think he’s more a choco taco kind of prospect.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Because he’s a Latino criminal who sneaks into places?

      • AllPraiseBeToMo

        lol, he has to sneak on since he’s latino? Maybe if he had some grit he’d earn his way on and Arizona would give up anyone to get him.

        • Moncada’s Codpiece

          Gritty white guys gotta grit.

      • Moncada’s Codpiece

        Because he’s a Latino criminal who sneaks into places?

        Redundancy is redundant, amirite? The rankings mean nothing, everyone’s just soured on Sanchez because he’s been around for quite a while.

    • Mayan Brickann

      As Sanchez was MLB.com’s 11th rated catcher, I think he has a tough time landing in their Top 100. BP still seems somewhat bullish on him. He could end up in their last 20.

      • RetroRob

        Sanchez may go from overrated to underrated in the span of one offseason.

  • Looser Trader FotD™

    KLaw. Barf.

  • Go Win

    I am not a Law fan at all but some things are pretty clear.

    1) Severino, Judge and Bird are the best three Yankees prospects and the only ones deserving Top 100 consideration. Long happens to be high on Judge and Bird and low on Severino. Other writers will surely rank them differently.
    2) Sanchez has fallen off the Top prospects lists and is more due to make-up questions rather than ability. Hope this is a blessing in disguise and this means the Yankees will not trade him (not enough value) and give him a shot in the majors once the unavoidable injury to McCann / Murphy occurs. I think he can actually surprise many non believers. . . Although I recognize that is just me.
    3) Although Law has the Yankees ranked 20th he still believes the farm system is on the uptrend, which is pretty much a consensus around baseball. This time next year I would be surprised if the Yankees system does not have a consensus Top 10 ranking and even around Top 5 if they sign Moncada.
    4) The strenght of Yankees system is its depth, although is not that heavy at the top. I guess we will see in coming years if that depth translates into more value in terms of either more prospects cracking the major league team or otherwise showing some trade value.

    • Tom_hamsandwich

      My hope is that they fall to 30th next year because there prospects turn into MLB players.

      • Mandy Stankiewicz

        Impossible. Moncada will still be in AAA, and the No. 1 prospect in baseball :)

        • AllPraiseBeToMo

          If MLB is finally shamed into letting the kid sign. What a joke that they were sitting on his application for months trying to not let the Yanks & others bid on him.

    • blake

      It just depends how they do….if they sign Moncada some publications might have them top 10 now……if Judge and the rest have good years then they will probably be top 5 next year sure on a lot of lists…..but it could go the other way in a hurry if they don’t

  • HoopDreams

    Judge kinda looks like a young Schwarzenegger “Ive seen you before, your the asshole on TV”

    • AllPraiseBeToMo

      Get to the choppa!

      • Mandy Stankiewicz

        Dominic, Dominic, get the ferret!!!

        • AllPraiseBeToMo

          Who is your daddy and what does he do?

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            See you at deh pahty, Richtaaaaah!

    • vicki

      ew, don’t ruin him for me.

  • Bigdan

    Another thought on Austin. I read somewhere that even after his hot second half and strong AFL showing, Yankee officials don’t think he’s all the way back yet from his wrist.

    I was super down on Austin a year ago, believing he should just get the damn surgery. If he has actually avoided that and makes a 100% recovery, then I’m real anxious to see what he’ll do in AAA this year. He was extremely advanced as a hitter as a 20 year old. Two years ago he was just entering AA at 21 when he got side-tracked. Judge will be 23 at AA.

    • AllPraiseBeToMo

      I think Austin is a big sleeper this year, I can see him getting added to the 40 man when ARod or Beltran go down.

      • Bigdan

        He’s on the 40 now. I guess you mean the 25 though. Yes you are right, that could def happen.

        • AllPraiseBeToMo

          Yea, sorry, misspoke. If he starts out hot when the inevitable injury happens I could see them bringing him up to DH/RF. Also, if Chris Young falls apart and plays like Chris Young of the past few years, they can cut him and bring up Austin as the RH back up OF.
          A couple ways for him to get on the roster with a good spring and start to the year. Big year for him.

          • TheEvilUmpire

            I only see Austin coming up if they can give him full-time reps in RF. If its filling Chris Young’s role, I see Flores as the more likely call-up.

    • blake
      • Bigdan

        Good tune. Been years. Reminds me of Strait and Cheyenne.

  • TheEvilUmpire

    Judge and Bird’s timing just seems too good to be true. Sure I know one or both could flame out, but how awesome would it be if both could step in for Beltran and Tex when their contracts expire after 2016?

  • blake

    Jared (NJ)
    Keith, Mason Williams has really impressed me this year. I know you said that you think he will fill out so my question is if he does, what type of player can he be
    Klaw
    Talked to another scout who saw that club last week – he loved Williams too, raved about Gumbs’ bat speed although it’s his only real tool, and was down on Culver (mostly his LH swing). I think Williams has a chance to be … actually, the player I think Colby Rasmus will be. Hits for average, runs well, plays good D in CF, hits maybe 20-25 HR.

    From Keith Laws past

    • TheEvilUmpire

      That and ex-wives will haunt KLaw to his grave.

    • AllPraiseBeToMo

      Is that the ghost of christmas past from 3 years ago?

      • blake

        Ghost of failed predictions past

        • Bigdan

          You ought to take a look at Kiper’s past QB picks sometime. I mean it’s beyond brutal.

          • blake

            It’s all guessing ….BA had Mason the #1 Yankee prospect a very short time ago. These things can change on a dime

          • AllPraiseBeToMo

            More brutal than his hair?

            • Bigdan

              Hahaha. I love his do. It’s metallic.

              • AllPraiseBeToMo

                Off topic, but in a hair battle, Mel Kiper or Jimmy Johnson? They headbutt each other like rams, which one has a hair out of place first?

                • Bigdan

                  Kiper hands down. Jimmy is stronger in other body parts.

    • RetroRob

      Sure, which is why people should not get too worked up about where a player ranks right now. These things can change year-to-year. Heck, they can change in the span of six months. That will be reflected when we see his mid-year rankings. As I mentioned yesterday, I do think Klaw has the overall Yankees system lower than he should, but not dramatically. I think the depth they have is not properly reflected. At the same time, I’m not in Kiley’s camp that they’re top ten yet, but I do see them more middle of the pack with a chance to move up quite a bit for the reasons Mike mentioned above.

      • blake

        I think the reality is that they are in the 15th ish range……but they are in a position where it they have another good year and the Judges and Severinos take steps forward then they could be a legit top 10 system this time next year

  • Jake

    I’d think the bullpen is a possibility for all minor league starters until they make it to the majors and prove they belong in a ml rotation.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      Used to be, back in the day, even the most hyped of starting prospects were broken into the bullpen first. The Dodgers did that with Pedro.

      • AllPraiseBeToMo

        Earl Weaver with the Orioles back in the day.

      • Dalek Jeter

        I think what he meant is more that “until you prove that you can start in the Majors, there is a big possibility you’re going to wind up in the bullpen full time.”

      • Tom_hamsandwich

        I wonder what made MLB teams go away from this. I feel like it allows pitchers to come in and get batters out at the MLB level. They don’t have to worry about saving themselves and trying to go 8 innings.

        • vicki

          there are so many more full-time relief specialists now. maybe there are just fewer spots out there. but i like the strategy and have defended it over many times to fans who can’t get past the joba miscalculation.

          • RetroRob

            The Yankees plan to start him and pull him after only a few innings was not the best of plans, which has nothing to do with starting a guy in the bullpen. That was fine. Of course, I remain steadfast in my belief that Joba’s downfall as a starter was not caused by his use in the bullpen, or even their less-than-perfect plan to build up his innings. It was an injury. He never fully recovered. It happens.

            • Tom_hamsandwich

              I would question his mentality and make up sometimes. It may just be me, but I feel like he would lose his confidence quickly and then spiral. I think it was opening day against the RS a few years ago, he got the 1st to batters to look foolish, really foolish. then there was an error, SB, BB, wild pitch and a hit or 2 and bam things got out of control

              • RetroRob

                Arm injury aside, Joba certainly had (and still has) issues between the ears.

            • Evan3457

              The shoulder thingy after diving out of the way of I-Rod’s low throw to 2nd in Texas, The lightning never really came all the way back. Two starts before that he beat Beckett, throwing 7 innings of 3 hit ball in Fenway against that lineup, striking out 9 and walking 1.

              Sigh.

  • RetroRob

    His comments on Severino and not using the lower half of the body are legitimate. Many agree. We’ve also seen many others disagree, which is why he’s ranked highly on other lists. It doesn’t mean he’s not a good prospect, just not as good as others have rated him or where fans want to see him ranked.
    On the glass is half full side, he has Judge quite high on his list, more so than others, and the fact he has Bird, a 1B’man who barely has cracked AA in the top 100, is also a positive.
    Last, Klaw had the Yankees with a top ten system from 2011-2013, if I remember correctly. That turned out to be overly aggressive considering the prospects that pushed the Yankees that high ended up injured and or flopped. The inverse could happen here. The Yankees could be lower on his list and actually bring more players to the majors. In other words, I wouldn’t take it all too seriously beyond having access to excellent information.

    • UnKnown

      Good prospect for sure. Can’t argue with being worried about his mechanics. Another guy for the great Rothschild to fix. Ol’ Larry is going to be busy this year.

      • Tom_hamsandwich

        I see some David Price in his mechanics. Not a comp, just saying.

      • Tom_hamsandwich

        Speaking of mechanics, German needs a tweak. He looks like an arm injury with legs. Short arming and choking the hell out of the ball.

      • chris hines

        Rothschild in no way has a reputation for making mechanics safer, in fact those who knock him as a pitching coach do so citing he improves K rates but influences injuries by preaching full effort deliveries. He got blamed for a lot of Cub injuries, probably unfairly but regardless his reputation is not that of an arm saver.

    • Mayan Brickann

      Law had the Yankees Top 10 in 4 of the previous 6 seasons.

      • andrewyf

        So you’re saying Keith Law is not good at ranking farm systems.

        • Countdown Till Bryce’s a FA

          concur, why is this dche nozzler even paid? because he goes to minor league games and takes pictures and videos? Who wants in on that job?!?!

        • Havok9120

          They turned their top prospect into five years of what everyone agreed should have been a top rotation starter. Then the Killer B’s died or went to the ‘pen and Sanchez did not develop as quickly as hoped. :(

          Those were very, very top heavy systems, but there was reason to be optimistic. He was not an outlier.

    • vicki

      mechanics + age + tinstaapp

      it’s a matter of personal perspective, but i could defend bearish seniment for a 20 year-old with 25 ip at AA and less that 222 ip in pro ball. just a couple years ago zach lee was the dodgers’ top prospect, with number 1 starter potential. next thing you know, his ceiling is mid-rotation, now back-end. and he’s one bad season from the bullpen.

  • MB923

    Strange how he puts the Yankees 20th but FG has them 11th (and FG said they’d put them even up to 7th I believe if they got Moancada)

    Now we wait for Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America

  • dkidd

    i needed this cold shower after kiley’s irrational exuberance

    lots of talent to dream on,
    but systems are judged by turning talent into production. hopefully the new regime does a better job

    • RetroRob

      I’m blending the two ranking together for 15th.

      Of course that’s not a realistic way of doing it, but that’s about where I see the Yankee system right now, and trending up as Mike notes.

  • captainmike

    time for cashman to trade both of them for some over the hill scrubs

    • Too Many Idiots

      When was the last time Cashman traded top prospects for “over the hill scrubs”?

      • RetroRob

        Don’t feed Andrew.

        • Too Many Idiots

          I don’t think this one is him. Probably still shouldn’t feed his idiocy.

          • RetroRob

            Maybe we should label them all “Andrews.” : -)

            • Havok9120

              That’s what Jorge has decided to do.

              Kinda like that phase in…2013 (?) where every new incarnation of “Troll,” “Troll Hunter,” and the various Rainbow variants caused most of the regulars to just label all new trolls as Rainbow whether it was him or not.

          • vicki

            it isn’t. andrew is a tedious monomaniac. this guy is a different kind of unbalanced.

            • Tom_hamsandwich

              This is like a forensic investigation on trolls.

  • jjs91

    Yankees rated low because he wants to see more production, yet Dominic Smith has shown enough to be a top-100 guy.

  • Countdown Till Bryce’s a FA

    If this guy is such an amazing scout, why isn’t he signed to a team?

    • nsalem

      he may make a lot more money than a scout.

    • Havok9120

      Yikes.

  • RetroRob

    Just additional reminders. Not making the top 100 does not mean a player is not a top prospect. Sanchez dropped because of what some are now saying is a work ethic issue. That can change. For example:

    Christian (Michigan)
    Cano wasn’t a top 100 prospect.

    Klaw
    (2:17 PM)
    Before my time, but you’re probably right. I remember our guys killing his lack of effort/work ethic in the minors.

  • Andrew_Jackson_Pollock

    I like Keith Law, but generally don’t put much weight into these rankings because 1) prospect value fluctuates wildly based on minor changes in performance and 2) Outside of the top 8-10 prospects I don’t think there’s much separating #20 from #80.

    The biggest takeaway for me in terms of their top prospects seems to be the agreement that Gary Sanchez has fallen down the prospect list. Some of it is due to the improved performance of Judge, Severino, Bird, etc., but clearly some of it has to do with his performance and makeup.